Tag Archives: historical fiction

Book Review: When Mischief Came to Town

when mischiefToday we recommend: When Mischief Came to Town by Katrina Nannestad.

In 1911, when orphaned ten-year-old Inge comes to live with her stern grandmother in a remote island village in Bornholm, Denmark, she ends up changing the climate of the town, bringing joy and laughter to her grandmother’s life and finding a new family for herself to help assuage her grief over losing her mother.

This is a really sweet book, a little bit funny, and also just a little sad. Much of the focus of the book is exploring the relationship between Inge and her grandmother as they get to know one another. Also enjoyable are the fairy tales and folk stories woven throughout the book. You’ll cheer for Inge as she introduces pranks and mischief into the lives of the villagers and her grandmother. You can find this book on our Battle of the Books shelf at J NANNESTAD.

~aw

Book Review: Making Bombs for Hitler

making bombs for hitlerToday I recommend: Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

When Lida and her sister are caught by the Nazis they are separated. Lida is sent to a slave labour camp and must work from dawn to dusk on bread and soup, without shoes and wearing only a thin dress. Even if she survives the war, will Lida ever see her sister again?

This book grabbed my attention right away and I couldn’t put it down. This is a fictionalized account of young Ukrainian Lida’s experiences in Nazi work camps but it is based on facts and interviews as explained in the excellent author’s note. It addresses all of the horrors of the Holocaust without being too graphic in its descriptions. The strength of Lida and her struggles will hook you and you’ll feel emotional as you root for her. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J SKRYPUCH.

If Making Bombs for Hitler sounds interesting you might also enjoy: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Juvenile Fiction J LOWRY). For other books about WWII check out: Book Review: Brave Like My Brother

~aw

Book Review: Brave Like My Brother

brave like my brotherToday I recommend: Brave Like My Brother by Marc Tyler Nobleman.

When Charlie’s older brother Joe is called up in 1942, Charlie learns about the tedium and dangers of war through Joe’s letters–and his brother’s bravery in dealing with a spy as D-Day approaches, finally gives Charlie the strength to stand up to the local bully.

This is a really nice historical fiction book that focuses less on the war and more on the relationship between the two brothers. Most of the book is written in the form of letters from Joe to Charlie, and the format makes for an interesting but not too intense tale. Older readers may be more interested in The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley but this is an excellent story for younger readers. This book can be found in the Juvenile Fiction section at J NOBLEMAN.

~aw

Book Review: Dear Hank Williams

jacketThis week I finished reading Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt.

When the teacher assigns a pen pal project to the class, 11-year-old Tate chooses the soon to be famous (in then, 1948) country western musician Hank Williams.  She writes him letters throughout the school year, sharing everything about her life in Louisiana.  She writes about her little brother and her dog, her talented mother- who is in jail, and her own dreams of becoming a famous singer.

Imagine a time before the internet and social media. A time when you had maybe one chance to hear your favorite singer on the radio, and if you missed it, you had to wait another day or another week to hear them again.  There is a lot to learn about what life was like in a post-WWII southern town. Writing and mailing letters and looking out for your favorite radio program made me think of how different things are today!  If you like historical fiction or classic country western music, try Dear Hank Williams.  If you can, I also recommend reading it with some Hank Williams music playing in the background.  Maybe you’ll become as big a fan as Tate!

You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J HOLT!